“We’re going to make the Democrats and Barack Obama the party of national security,” he said. “It’s signing our own death warrant as a party.”

King’s Long Island congressional district was deeply affected by the September 11 terrorist attacks, and he has long been a proponent of an aggressive approach to combating terrorism, even as voices more wary of intervention, like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), have grown more prominent within the GOP.

“Republicans are supposed to be the party of national defense,” King said. “It would be one thing if people wanted to pass legislation [posing] questions. But to talk about ‘spying’ and unconstitutionality … it’s basically repudiating the policies of the Republican Party over the last 12 years, policies that kept us safe.”